The Deer King Film Gets Home Video Release in N. America on October 4
GKIDS announced on Monday that it and Shout! Factory will release The Deer King (Shika no Ō: Yuna to Yakusoku no Tabi), the anime film of Nahoko Uehashi’s Shika no Ō (The Deer King) medical fantasy novel series, on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on October 18 and on all “major digital platforms” on October 4. The home video release will feature bonus content such as an interview with and introduction from director Masashi Ando, trailers, and more.
The company describes the film’s story:
Following a brutal war, former soldier Van toils in a mine controlled by the ruling empire. One day, his solitary existence is upended when a pack of wild dogs carrying a deadly and incurable disease attack, leaving only Van and a young girl named Yuna as survivors. Finally free, the pair seek out a simple existence in the countryside but are pursued by nefarious forces. Intent on protecting Yuna at all costs, Van must uncover the true cause of the plague ravaging the kingdom—and its possible cure.
GKIDS screened the film as a fan preview event in Japanese with English subtitles on July 13 and with an English dub on July 14. The film with got a limited release in select theaters on July 15. The film made US$49,650 in its opening weekend in the United States. It has earned US$286,063 in the United States as of July 26.
The anime film opened in Japan on February 4. The film was delayed from a September 2020 opening due to the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and delayed again from September 2021.
The novels center on Van, the head of a group of soldiers who expected to die fighting for their lands against a large empire looking to incorporate their home into its kingdom. Instead of dying, however, Van is taken as a slave and thrown into a salt mine. One night, a pack of strange dogs attacks the salt mine, and a mysterious illness breaks out. During the attack, Van takes the opportunity to escape, and he meets a young girl. Elsewhere, rumor is spreading that only immigrants are coming down with this mysterious illness. The medical scientist Hossal risks his life to search for a cure. Doctors also study a father and child who seem to have survived the illness. The novels tell the interconnecting stories and bonds of those who fight against a cruel fate.
Masashi Ando (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, your name. character design; Tokyo Godfathers, Paranoia Agent, When Marnie Was There, your name. animation director) directed the film alongside Masayuki Miyaji (Xam’d: Lost Memories, Fusé: Memoirs of a Huntress) at Production I.G. Ando also drew the character designs, and was the chief animation director. Taku Kishimoto (Haikyu!!, ERASED, Fruits Basket) penned the script. Harumi Fuuki (Forest of Piano series, Miss Hokusai, Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna) composed the music. Singer-songwriter milet created the theme song “One Reason” for the film.
The film screened in June 2021 in competition at last year’s Annecy International Animation Film Festival. The film screened at the Fantasia International Film Festival in August 2021 and won the Bronze Audience Award there. It also screened at the Animation Is Film Festival in Los Angeles in September 2021.
The novels won the Japan Booksellers’ Award and won the fourth “Japan Medical Novel Award” in 2015.
Taro Sekiguchi launched a manga adaptation on Kadokawa’s Young Ace Up website in July 2021. The manga ended with its second volume, which shipped in Japan on March 10.
Source: Press release